MLB Balks at Chance to Strike Down Josh Donaldson’s Racist Comment

Donaldson’s fine for his remark to White Sox star Tim Anderson was cut in half by MLB special adviser John McHale

Josh Donaldson of the New York Yankees in action against the Chicago Cubs
Josh Donaldson of the New York Yankees in action against the Chicago Cubs.
Mike Stobe/Getty

Major League Baseball special adviser John McHale had a chance to hit back at Josh Donaldson’s racism — and he struck out.

As a person familiar with MLB’s disciplinary process told The Associated Press, McHale upheld Donaldson’s one-game suspension for referring to White Sox star Tim Anderson, who is Black, as “Jackie” during a game last month but cut his miniscule $10,000 fine in half down to a measly $5,000.

“He did say that, and I told him we never have to talk again,” Anderson said. “I don’t speak to you, you don’t speak to me, if that’s how you want to refer to me. I know, he knew exactly what he was doing because I already told him.”

Donaldson, who is making a base salary of $21 million this season and could easily afford to pay $10,000, has maintained that the comment was not meant to be racial, but many deemed the remark to be racist and none of the New York Yankees third baseman’s teammates stepped up to get his back.

McHale should have factored all of that into the equation when judging Donaldson’s penalties and, at the very least, kept all of the original sanctions in place. (Really, he should have increased them.) Instead, McHale cut the amount of green Donaldson will be shelling out in half and gave the green light to the 36-year-old and others of his ilk to practice hate speech.

Why MLB, which has seen its percentage of Black players decrease to just 7%, would do anything other than come down hard on Donaldson is incomprehensible. What he did was reprehensible, and the fact that his teammates were silent when asked to come to his defense speaks volumes. Donaldson, who is batting .235 with five homers and 18 RBI this season, was wrong. MLB walking back its laughable sanctions on him is too.

He’ll serve his one-game suspension during the Yankees’ series opener against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

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